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UN ban on all forms of human cloning is welcome - 09 March 2005

The United Nations ban on all forms of human cloning is a welcome addition to international human rights documents, said spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, Kath Woolf. The UN General Assembly passed the UN Declaration on Human Cloning overnight, with Australia’s support.

"The United Nations has set out clear ethical standards calling on member states to ban all forms of human cloning, whether for reproduction or for research", Ms Woolf said. "The announcement in February last year that a South Korean team of scientists had created the first human embryo clones means that human cloning is no longer a theory.

"Cloning for research means that a new embryonic human being is produced just so that it can be destroyed for research – a repugnant notion. Cloning for reproduction, where a new child is born, is against the interests of the women and children involved.

"But there is no practical difference between the procedure of cloning for reproduction or cloning for research. Both produce a cloned human being. Once a cloned embryo has been created it is either implanted in a woman to develop and be born, or it is destroyed for research. That’s why the United Nations wants a comprehensive ban.

"The Australian Government is to be commended for its support for the cloning ban. The ban is consistent with the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act agreed by the Australian Parliament in 2002, which also sets out a ban on all forms of human cloning."

The Declaration calls on member states to take a number of steps, including:

  • adopting all measures necessary to protect adequately human life in the application of life sciences;
  • prohibiting all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life;
  • adopting the measures necessary to prohibit the application of genetic engineering techniques that may be contrary to human dignity;
  • taking measures to prevent the exploitation of women in the application of life sciences;
  • adopting and implementing without delay national legislation to protect adequately human life and to prevent the exploitation of women.

Contact:    Kath Woolf, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, telephone 02 6253 3100